Almost 50 years ago, the Holy Spirit fell upon a small
group of Catholic college students from Duquesne
University in Pittsburgh. They were participating in a
retreat at a place called The Ark and the Dove, located in
the north hills area of Pittsburgh. They experienced the
Lord in a personal and powerful manner, including the
manifestations of charisms such as praying in tongues and
This small retreat center was recently up for sale. In order to preserve this historic site where the modern Catholic Charismatic Renewal came to birth a number of people, in conjunction with the National Service Committee, a corporation to purchase this site was formed. Fr. Cantalmessa, preacher to the papal household, heard this news and said, “I cannot but rejoice over the decision…to buy The Ark and The Dove retreat house where the Catholic Charismatic Renewal had its first visible manifestation back in 1967. How we would be happy if we could purchase the Jerusalem Cenacle where the first Pentecost took place!”
The Cenacle in Jerusalem where the first Pentecost took place is not for sale. And though it is a wonderful place to make a pilgrimage to, it is not the most important Cenacle in the world. The most important Cenacle in the world is the one we create in praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit in our day.
Ironically, Fr. Cantalamessa teaches this in his book Mary: Mirror of the Church. Based on the events of Acts 1, Fr. Cantalamessa says:
…the first point is that before undertaking anything at all and setting out into the world, the Church needs to receive the Holy Spirit; the second point is that prayer, above all, is the way to prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit; the third is that this prayer must be of one accord and persevering.
✦ Acknowledge our utter dependency of the power and work of the Holy Spirit to make our efforts bear great fruit
✦ Pray at all times for the coming of the Spirit
✦ Be in accord, unified with our brothers and sisters in Christ